Three reasons you need a customer service roadmap


Share on LinkedIn

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It’s very common for companies to maintain a roadmap of their products and services. They often include details from past releases, what’s available currently, and what’s planned for the future. It provides a picture of coming products or services capabilities, pace of innovation, and even new markets a company plans to enter.

While the concept of a roadmap might be commonplace, companies’ opinions on sharing their roadmap often differ. Some choose to keep it internal-only, out of fear of providing insights to competitors. Others might share with select customers to validate plans and to provide assurances. Some choose to share it broadly with all customers.

As customer experience (CX) has become the new brand for companies, a roadmap limited to products and services is not enough. Customer service plays a critical role in keeping CX on track when problems arise. With customers’ expectations for service continuing to rise, a customer service roadmap grows to equal importance as the products and service roadmap. Here are three good ways a customer service roadmap can be of benefit.

Planning additions

The most obvious benefit of maintaining a customer service roadmap is for planning purposes. Like a product roadmap, it offers insights into what’s to come, for as far into the future as reasonable. What’s to come might be new engagement channels (such as adding chatbots), adding service programs (like customer success), and adding or modifying policies.

The roadmap doesn’t replace an actual project plan. The roadmap is a high-level view of individually delivered projects. It provides visibility to others without the underlying details, yet still is useful for review, discussion, and cross-team planning. Each project on the roadmap will have its own unique characteristics and requirements. For example, if adding a new engagement channel:

  • What vendor research and implementation partner evaluation is needed?
  • When and how will customer service agent training be delivered?
  • What are the goals of the project, and how will they be measured?
  • How will customers be informed?

This level of detail is irrelevant for the roadmap. Projects should be represented as individual mileposts on the journey without the project particulars.

Aligning with business needs

A roadmap can indicate more than just service additions. Equally important are planning for large modifications and the end-of-life of services.

Is a channel’s volume declining and it should be retired? Has the maintenance of a service become too expensive? Perhaps policies, procedures, and services must be updated to reflect changes in the business or to support mandates like the General Data Protection Regulation or California Consumer Privacy Act.

Modifications or termination to services can require just as much work or even more than an addition. Any sort of change that will affect customers should involve notification well in advance of the planned change; legal or contractual obligations might exist to perform actions related to this change. Impact on vendors should be verified. As with adding a service, a whole underlying project plan is necessary and inclusion on the roadmap provides that strategic view of upcoming changes in customer service and how it might affect other departments and overall CX.

Driving innovation

Forrester famously stated customer experience is the new battleground. With customer service a large part of that experience, it must keep pace with changes in customer service expectations. Simply offering telephone-based customer service is not enough to satisfy customers’ expectations for digital, anytime-anywhere, consumer-like interactions with every company they conduct business with.

A customer service roadmap provides visibility into the presence (or lack of) future innovation. Is the company’s customer service on-par with, staying ahead of, or falling behind what’s expected by customers and what the competition offers? As the company embraces hot, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation, how can they be tapped into in new ways to also improve CX? How do new developments in the company’s products and services mean customer service itself must adapt?

What’s on your roadmap?

While we often think of roadmaps for products and services, they should also be employed in customer service. They are a great visualization of near- and long-term plans. They can illustrate additions and modifications to customer service over time as well as indicate where new innovation can and should occur. For the truly bold, they can even be a method of sharing what’s to come in the realm of customer service with customers.

Success in CX doesn’t just happen. It’s planned for, and constantly changing. Using a roadmap for customer service is a path to CX success.

Paul Selby
I am a product marketing consultant for Aventi Group. Aventi Group is the first product marketing agency solely dedicated to high-tech clients. We’re here to supplement your team and bring our expertise to bear on your top priorities, so you achieve high-quality results, fast.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here